NATIONAL REPORT — Beer, tequila and ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails are all poised for growth in 2024, according to an analysis of new survey results released by e-commerce site Drizly and BevAlc Insights.
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Some survey categories are apparently building on momentum from prior years, while others appear to be making a comeback after lackluster sales. And though inflation may have been responsible for those dampened numbers, demand for premium beverages doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
Beer & Tequila
Beer topped the list of beverages that survey respondents plan to continue to consume in the coming year. Sixty-eight percent said they anticipate buying beer in 2024 compared to 67% from the same survey the year prior and a reversal from a five-year trend on Drizly where beer share has been on the decline.
The switch back to traditional hops-based beer may be coming at the expense of sales of other malt products such as hard seltzer, with a loss of three percentage points year-over-year from consumers interested in purchasing those products and a slight downward trend seen via Drizly sales between 2022 and 2023.
"Part of [the hard seltzer decline] is driven by the rise in ready-to-drink cocktails as well as renewed interest in light lager, which compete closely with the hard seltzer category," explained Liz Paquette, the head of consumer insights at Drizly.
Seasonal beer was the second-most popular choice among survey respondents, seeing a slight uptick in consumers' purchasing plans (from 34% to 35% year-over-year), while stout may also see gains in 2024.
Tequila sales have been among the fastest-growing categories on Drizly over the past five years, with reposado tequila gaining share over silver/blanco in the last year, pointing to growing interest in more premium tequila styles.
Many survey respondents are also looking for higher-end tequila; 19% of those who said they plan on buying tequila in 2024 anticipate spending $200 or more per bottle. This was the No. 2 response after the $25 to $49 price range, cited by 26% of tequila drinkers.
RTD Cocktails & Nonalcoholic Beverages
Thirty-four percent of survey participants, up from 32% last year, said they plan to buy RTD cocktails in the coming year and are overall interested in trying new brands in 2024. The growing interest among consumers was reflected in Drizly's sales, which surged 47% in 2023.
According to the survey, the top three factors that bring consumers to try a new RTD cocktail brand include a type of cocktail that the respondent loves (59%), curiosity for new types of cocktails (58%) or a recommendation from friends or family (48%).
The nonalcoholic drinks trend also continued to dominate the conversation in 2023. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents reported that they have tried or intend to try zero-proof beverages in 2024, and a notable one-third specifically plan to drink mocktails.
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Additionally, despite rising costs, 40% of those surveyed do not plan to change their drinks-buying behaviors in 2024 due to inflation, which tracks with the softening of the inflation rate over the last six months.
Drizly determined its results based on a survey of 1,000 adults of legal drinking age about the drinks they plan to purchase most in 2024. More information about the analysis may be found here.